Tuesday, July 31, 2012

7-31-12 Missing Marty

This is the Marty I remember.

A friend messaged me this week about the passing of Marty that stirred up a lot of sweet memories of my friend.   It's now been more than six years since he passed, at the age of 36. 

Marty was my junior high crush. When I worked in the office, long before privacy concerns, I'd looked up his information card in the file cabinet just to learn his full name: Martin Antonio Flores, and his birthdate, Dec. 15, 1969. I finally worked up the nerve to give him a birthday/Christmas present in the 8th grade. It was a bracelet with his name on it. He was very shy and sweet about it, as I presented it to him after the Christmas concert in the bandhall that night the same week as his birthday. 

It was more than four years later, almost the end of our senior year, sitting next to one another in Mrs. Rayburn's English class, when I glanced down and saw him wearing an anklet with writing on it. I asked him about it and he looked at me with his trademark twinkle in his eyes and said, "Don't you remember?" Yes, he'd kept it, and worn it, and I'd never even noticed.

Marty was the one who never bothered with superficial relationships. If you engaged in a conversation with him, he was totally there, present, interested, passionate. To this day, when I hear UB40's "Red, Red Wine" on the radio I see him, bobbing his head and smiling at me. 

The entries in his guestbook are indicative of the presence of life he brought to those who were blessed enough to know him, even for such a brief time. And there is now an endowment in his name for students of musical composition and theory at the University of Houston. He would be humbled. And his eyes would surely be twinkling.

7-31-12 the first video

And behold, there was hi-def video. And exactly 30 seconds is the largest I can save and still upload to Blogger without squashing it. This looks terrible compared to the crispness it was shot in. Grumblegrumble...

7-31-12 The Monster TV

Back story of the monster TV: Mark, our IT guy, emailed the server saying he'd just posted a Craig's List ad if anyone was interested. It was a 65" hi-def TV. In his listing he mentioned it was very large and you would have to have a truck to bring it home.  I sent it to Bob, mainly as a joke because the last time someone posted they were selling a giant TV on the work email, it was Mel's and I snapped it up and then told Bob after the fact that we now had to find transportation for a 50+ inch old style projection TV to put in Nick's basement.

This time, Bob called and said, why not? It's a good deal, we've been talking about putting a screen in the front room on the main floor where it is much cooler in the warm months and spending evenings down there instead of smothering in the upper loft. The only hitch was finding a truck. 

Mark said that David, our CEO and IT guru, could help. So yesterday at lunch, Mark and David lugged this monster out of Mark's basement, into the truck, and over to my house where they unloaded it and put it inside. We'd originally thought we'd put the big one upstairs but one look at it and how heavy it was, and I made the executive decision to have it just put in the front room. Later when Nick got home I asked him to hook up his xbox to check the picture. When we plugged it in, there was a giant diagonal black line across the left side of the screen. It's hard to get a shot, but you can see part of it below:

It was like that on every screen, no matter the input. Rats. We were pretty sure Mark would have mentioned this in his ad. Maybe it had happened moving? I emailed him. Sure enough, it wasn't there before. The only thing he could imagine was that perhaps a string or thread could be across on of the lenses. 

So, being the handywoman, I took the screwdriver to the back of this thing. Of course, I took out all the 28 screws of the upper panel and it didn't budge. Mark suggested via IM I try the lower panel. 20 more screws later and I was wondering why I hadn't gone looking for the electric screwdriver.

So now I was inside, and lo, there were many connections. 

Craning up into the upper portion to get a look, sure enough, there was a big cobweb that had shaken loose from its brothers at the top of the cabinet and stuck to the front screen in a perfect diagonal formation.

You must appreciate that I am now half inside the television taking pictures.

And voila! Picture fixed!

I let Bob get home to put all the 4 dozen screws back in with the electric driver. The next job was to move all of the furniture around to accommodate this wall hog downstairs. It's still a work in progress, but both couches and the piano have found new spots and all we need now is the DirectTV guys to come out and run a line for the box. 

7-31-12 The Help

Sunday, July 29, 2012

7-29-12 Miramont Castle

Since we'd skipped out on the night walking tour, we opted for a bright and sunny morning tour of Manitou's Miramont Castle. This place is less than 100 yards from Deana's house and I've passed it many times but never taken the time to walk through.

The Castle was constructed in 1895, with an east wing addition (the right side of the picture) added in 1897. It was built as the home of Friar Francolon and his mother, who had come from France to serve in Santa Fe but whose ill health sent him to the purported healing springs of Manitou in 1892 as the parish priest of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This house must be 10 times the size of the little church that sits further down the street. His first home, behind this one, was donated to the Sisters of Mercy as a sanitarium, called Montcalme. Within 3 years of the east wing addition, he and his mother left for France, never to return.

It sat empty for four years before the Sisters were able to purchase the building as part of the Sanitarium until the original building burned down in 1907 and the Castle functioned as the whole sanitorium for twenty more years.

From 1927 to 1946 the Castle was turned into a retreat and vacation home for the Sisters of Mercy, and then they sold the property to investors who turned it into nine apartments. For the next 30 years, ownership changed hands eleven times, the building growing more and more dilapidated and damaged.

Finally, in 1976 the Manitou Springs Historical Society was able to purchase the building and begin the long, arduous task of saving it from condemnation and restoring the property to its former glory. That work continues.

The building is a hodge podge of design, incorporating elements from nine different periods: Moorish, Byzantine, Half-Timber Chateau, Flemish Stepped Gables, Romanesque, Queen Anne, Tudor, Elizabethan, and Venetian Ogee.

This is the original staircase before the 1897 addition.

20 Ton red sandstone fireplace in the Hall
Behind the piano was the original conservatory and veranda.
The shingles are original African mahogany and the pillars have been stained to match.

Through the Moorish Arch, are the Parlor and the Music Alcove

The Dining Room has two foot thick and curved walls.

The tapestry incorporates every known patriotic symbol of the United States at the close of the Victorian era. 

The Grand Staircase of the East Wing addition

What was originally the eight-walled dining room was converted into a Chapel by the Sisters.

Francolon's Smoking Room with its acute corners.

Off to the side of the dining room and under the staircase was the water closet. It is glassed off but you can see the original wallpaper, which was a blue Fleur de Lis set with a highly poisonous arsenic compound to keep the color from running.

This small poisonous closet from further back, next to what seems like a very creepy torture chamber for the sad nun.

The front stone walls through the archway (a chair lift for the disabled is just out of sight)

The Grand Staircase

From the landing looking up to the third level

Manitou Springs the town grew just a bit between the first picture and the second

One of the Gothic windows, right next to the 16' Tudor styled.

The Great Hall, and Francolon's Art Gallery 

Looking from the great hall, where the exposed stone of the original building remains inside the east addition.

The seven-sided Solarium was originally complete with glass ceiling and served as the Conservatory before being converted into the surgery room of the sanitarium.

The Guest Suite is a 16 sided room.

Can you tell I like this space the best?

This area was first the covered veranda of the original and then enclosed by the addition. 

The Victorian bathroom, with oak wainscoting. 

The feet on the tub are alternating colors

The water closet is original to the Castle.

Mother Francolon's Dressing Room

Her Sixed-Sided Suite, in the original French blue it was painted. It is the only room with Oak trim. 

The Great Hall from the other side. The floor is not flat. And the ceiling is hammered metal.

The Morrish Keyhole Windows were cut from red sandstone and sit at the end of the Great Hall that once housed Francolon's Native American collection of art

Looking behind us one more time into the Great Hall -- the ceiling rolls just a bit after its restoration. 

The large stone archway leads to Francolon's bedroom.

The oak floors here are original. 

The highest amount? $5.

The staircase to the Fourth floor and the Tower Room.

the exposed stone walls happened after a 1972 fire melted the plaster and cement to come off. 
The area under the roof were the servants quarters with three bedrooms, none of which were ever counted in the official listing of the 28 rooms of the Castle. 

The rooms are so small, they now have child-sized furniture in them. 

This is the tiniest of the rooms, not open to the public. The original door is about 4 inches shorter from the door jab that was restored to allow for easier passage than stooping. This gap allowed me to snap a photo over the door. Someone lived in here.

Outside at the top are the gardens and a very busy hummingbird. 

At the top above the gardens is the last remaining original isolation hut for tuberculosis patients that still stands. 

The wall is all that is left of the original home and sanitarium

Apricots bending the boughs from their ripened weight

We will have to try the Queen's tea room next time.

Plum dwarf tree, I think.

Walking back to town.

The rest of the day:

Loved the early lunch we had here in the Phoenix. What a great space.

Driving through Garden of the Gods

The burn area got very close. We drove through before Deana got me back to Denver.